New MacBook Pros are here! Get the lowest prices anywhere: Apple Price Guides updated Aug 31st (exclusive coupons)
 


Wednesday, May 04, 2005, 11:00 am PT (02:00 pm ET)

Apple planning Mac-focused TV ad campaign?

Apple’s television commercials currently feature only its iPod digital music player, but forthcoming ad spots will likely add a Mac focus, aiding the so-called iPod "halo effect."

These sentiments come from Merrill Lynch analyst, Steve Milunovich, who recently sat down for a one-on-one with Apple Chief Financial Officer, Peter Oppenheimer. However, Milunovich offered no further details.

Following the meeting, the Wall Street analyst said Apple doesn’t appear concerned about a cell phone threat to the iPod.

"Management argued that iPod will remain the best way to manage and listen to music with MP3 capability in handsets more complementary than a replacement," Milunovich wrote in a report. "The negatives of music on a handset include a worse user interface and limited battery life."

He quoted Oppenheimer, who “doesn’t foresee problems working with carriers,” implying that negotiating shared economics wouldn’t be a deal killer.

Milunovich also stands behind recent video iPod rumors voiced by several analysts, saying he expects wireless and video capability in iPods for the holidays. "Our guess is that iPod will run short video clips, such as Britney Spears gyrating while 'Toxic' plays," he said.

As first reported in an AppleInsider write-up of recent meeting between UBS Investment Research and Apple's exec team, Milunovich also noted that Apple's share of flash-player market surged an additional 15% in March to approximately 60%.

Oppinheimer told Milunovich that Apple remained supply-constrained on the iPod shuffle into March, meaning that analysts will be keeping a close eye on the company's yet-to-be-released April shuffle sales as being another indicator of the new player's potential.

Merrill Lynch reiterates a "Buy" rating on Apple stock with a price objective of $51 per share.